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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
When retired FBI agent Zack Tolliver suddenly finds himself involved in the mystery surrounding a teen’s death, and the subsequent murder of a schoolgirl who has obviously been mistaken for Tolliver’s niece, Tolliver, his former FBI wife, Libby, and Tolliver’s trusted Indian friend, Eagle Feather, spring into action. When Libby sets herself up as a decoy, hoping to ascertain the identity of the mysterious, grey-haired kidnapper who, it turns out, hears voices telling him he’s failed in his missions and needs to fix things, the race to zero in on the real perp is on. More folks die mysteriously; Zack and Eagle Feather witness the strange transformation of an entity or “presence” hidden inside a cave filled with ancient and current bones; a Latter Day Saint member who is also a sheriff investigating the murders begins to question his church elders and his own allegiance to the church; and those who know something suddenly have no idea whom to trust: everyone is a suspect!
Give me a book that opens with what looks like a religious ritual killing of an abducted teen male on top of Canaan Mountain, Utah, several possible explanations and very few clues, and an author who knows how to keep readers dangling, and you’ve got me from the first page. That’s what R. Lawson Gamble gives us in Canaan’s Secret, along another element I didn’t expect: a bit of the supernatural or rather, the mysticism of American Indian folklore as a possible explanation for some of the more unusual events in this engrossing book. Sound like a good read? It definitely is, thanks to lots of action, good dialogue, and just enough description to set the scenes and make those who have never seen the Utah mountains want to visit. Add to that an informative look into the early days of the Mormon settlers and some fascinating insight into Indian spiritualism and beliefs, and you have both an exciting and enlightening read in Canaan’s Secret.